Life In Christ

What is salvation?

Salvation is the process by which a human being is reconciled to God, the creator and sustainer of all things.

Why do I need it?

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12

Our natural tendency is to strive for total self-sufficiency. This leads us away from God, esteeming our thoughts and philosophies above His and even rejecting His very existence. We want to make our own rules, live our own life, and pursue our own happiness. Many people create their own version of God to support their own philosophy.

Many people believe all religions are basically the same, or that everybody will go to heaven (or some form of eternal "good place") when they die. Both of these beliefs come from the mind of man, and both are false. A study of the major world religions will reveal that, in reality, they differ greatly...from their core teachings, to their concept of the nature and character of God and His laws, to the nature of their heaven. They differ so radically, in fact, they cannot all be right. The concept that "people are basically good" doesn't hold water in the real world, and it fails completely when held up to Biblical standards.

In the Bible, God has given us a perfect resource by which we can learn about Him; however, even a cursory study of the Bible will reveal the absolute depravity of humankind, and the utter hopelessness of you or I having any sort of relationship with an absolutely perfect, holy God.

What's wrong?

In our pursuit of happiness, we seek self-esteem, physical health and beauty, financial wealth, nice cars, big houses, personal influence, emotional highs, or perhaps even a "spiritual awakening"...we have forgotten that happiness is not the same as joy, comfort is not the same as contentment, and world peace is not the same as inner peace. The only way to have lasting joy, contentment, and inner peace, which transcend your physical and emotional condition, is to have a perfect relationship with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe; however, our depravity makes it impossible for us to live up to His standards, so we are in a very bad state indeed.
So how does Jesus fix this?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Jesus, by living a life directed solely by God (after all, he was God), was able to atone for our rebellion through his death on the cross. To understand this, you must first understand that one of God's own laws, as immutable as any other physical law, is that rebellion against Him (sin) demands a sacrifice of life. Somebody had to die for us, and Jesus (fully human, like us, and fully God, so he was perfect) was the only one qualified to pay for every man's sin with His blood. His resurrection validates the fact that He is in control of death itself, and not even that can remove us from His hand. Since our sin has been paid for and we no longer have to fear death, we are free to have a perfect relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Eternal life?

He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17

The physical world consists of what our senses perceive; however, this is not all there is to reality. Eternal life and death is not only speaking of a physical life and death (every "physical" thing as we know it eventually dies), but also of spiritual life and death. In this sense, life is being close to the source of life, which is God in Christ, and death is being separated from this source. So you see how a physically alive person could actually be considered "dead," and a physically dead person could actually be considered "alive." Jesus lived as a man, with a physical body, died (his physical body ceased to function), was buried (his physical body began to decompose), and rose again in a restored physical body. This demonstrates that the physical world is completely controlled by the reality of God in Christ, and he is able to redeem and restore you both physically and spiritually. Your response to Jesus Christ is your choice between this eternal life and eternal death, eternity with God or apart from God.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19

What does it mean to be a Christian?

Being a Christian means that you let God direct your life. Who better to guide you through this world than the One who built it? Christianity is not brain-washing, chauvinism, or racism; in fact, the Scriptures speak clearly against such practices. Christianity is not about doing anything; rather, it is about Christ doing things to, through, and for us.

If you come to the point where you see your need for Jesus Christ, and your heart's desire is to follow Him, simply pray to God, pouring out your heart to the heavenly Father. Tell Him you understand your worthlessness, and that you want a perfect relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, who provided the only acceptable sacrifice for your life through His own perfect life, death, and resurrection. Ask Him to to take over your life.

At this point, God will forgive all of your sins, and set you apart as one of His own children. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8) by entering your heart, giving you a perfect relationship with Him. He will help you understand the Scriptures and live your faith (Psalm 25:5, 43:3; John 16:13).

Remember two things: 1) the Bible tells us about God; read it to find out more about the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and 2) you always have direct access to God through prayer (Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; 1 Peter 3:12). Talk to Him, share with Him, ask Him questions, and listen for His voice!

But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, `Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down) "or `Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

Romans 10:6-11

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